The Internet of Things is making a pathway to exciting new technologies that transform daily life beyond the smartphone. It provides a wireless interconnected network that operates everyday devices. This new technology shows why battery life and component size is so important. A self-powered camera shows a promising possibility for the IoT.
A look at self-powered camera technology
A group of scientists from Columbia University developed the self-powered camera. The prototype could pave the way for future cameras. Such devices could charge themselves when capturing images. A self-charging camera would make separate chargers obsolete. The prototype uses photodiodes for each pixel and creates an electric current when exposed to ambient light.
Every time the camera takes photos, the pixels switch between recording/reading the image and harvesting/charging energy modes This is comparable to most sensors currently on the market which are capable of recording millions of pixels. The prototype’s sensor is 30×40 pixels. It creates a grayscale and block-like image. The tiny camera’s image quality is similar to that of the old Game Boy.
The tiny camera’s possibilities in the IoT
The ulitmate goal of this camera doesn’t rely on the quality of pictures taken. The goal is to charge a battery or other device. Shree K. Nayar, the lead researcher on this project, sees a future of small battery-less cameras built into everyday devices. Nayar also thinks this will be the first step to creating a new generation of camera that functions for the long term without having to be externally powered.
The tiny camera doesn’t appear to be the most practical device, but the technology could still be utilized in devices like security cameras or wearables.This innovation is still very new, but it holds a lot of possibility for the future of the IoT. If such a camera can power itself, it could pave way for a smartphone to power itself with a camera.